Vancouver 2010 Olympic Cauldron

By Elliot Chan

Formerly published in

courtesy of BBC

courtesy of BBC

In 2010, all eyes were on Vancouver as it hosted the 21st Winter Olympic Games. Fans, athletes and everyone else crowded the downtown core celebrating and enjoying the event. In preparation for the grand occasion, Vancouver went through upgrades, introducing new sport complexes and public spaces and a safer highway to Whistler. Most of what was created for the Olympics is still in use today, such as the Convention Centre and Richmond’s Olympic Oval. While those locations became a regular part of the city’s landmark, the Olympic cauldron is still able to spark memories of the crowded streets and national pride.

Since the day it was unveiled, the cauldron has been a famous icon in Vancouver. So much that organizers were unprepared for its popularity during the two weeks event in 2010. A fence had to be constructed to keep spectators back, until a viewing spot can be built on higher ground. Today, the best spot to see it would be on the upper level of the Convention Centre.

Built to resemble five pillars of ice leaning against each other, the Olympic cauldron is now accessible for anyone eager to get a closer look. During the night, the transparent pillars will illuminate blue and green. Set in the centre of a fountain, against the Coal Harbour backdrop, the cauldron is a photogenic image of the city.

On special occasions, the cauldron would be re-lit. But the initial lighting is what most people remember. During the opening ceremony in BC Place, there were two Olympic cauldrons, the one we know now outdoors and another one in the stadium for the show. At the end of the ceremony, four famous Canadian athletes were supposed to light the pillars of the BC Place cauldron and have the flames travel up to the top of the bowl, but due to mechanical issues, one of the pillars did not rise. It was embarrassing for the organizers and awkward for the audience. Having two cauldrons meant that there would be two lightings. So a pick-up truck transported hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky with the Olympic flame from the stadium to the site of the outdoor cauldron. There, he fulfilled one of the greatest athletic honours in all of sports — lighting the Olympic Cauldron.

Danger and violence is a part of growing up


Parents’ safety concerns shouldn’t determine child’s athletic aspirations

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor

Formerly published in the Other Press. Dec. 2013

From an early age, we teach children to behave nicely and to play safe, but overprotectiveness can be more damaging than kicks, punches, and scrapes against pavement. Protecting children is one thing, but activities that test endurance such as hockey, mixed martial arts (MMA), and other sports requiring a helmet can offer valuable lessons—ones that children cannot get from their caring parents.

Although many still consider MMA to be a barbaric sport, it’s incredibly popular amongst the younger generation. Parents are more inclined today to enrol their children in lessons and cheer on their sons and daughters as they duke it out. That being said, it only takes a few seconds of viewing a child “ground and pound” an opponent before we recognize what is really happening. We shoot some judgmental glances at the parents and wonder how they could have let such a monstrosity happen.

Give me a break. I feel those parents should be commended for believing in their children, despite their child’s loss. Sure the child got hurt in the process—let that be the worst thing to happen in that child’s life. Sports are inherently dangerous; it doesn’t matter if you sprain your MCL playing badminton or get concussed from a roundhouse kick. Competition hurts and so does life. Spoiling children and keeping them in the house playing video games is more crippling than a few bruises.

The reason why I believe after-school and weekend sports enrolment for children is so important is that I didn’t have any when I was growing up. I had overprotective parents who wanted me to pursue academic and artistic endeavours and avoid the tremulous world of athletics. I believe the inability to cope with losing set me back a bit as I aged. I was afraid to fall and take chances, until one day I decided to purchase a skateboard with my own money and prove my durability. I remember returning home with blood dripping down my leg, proud. I had fallen and I survived.

Competition is a part of life, and the earlier we teach our children this concept the more competent they’ll be, whether in academic, professional, or athletics goals. Learning to lose is as important as learning to win. Those who are successful will tell you that there is not one without the other. If the child has a passion and is willing the pursue it, parents should support them regardless of the concrete floor, opposing teams, or headlocks.

Some may call certain sports violent, and therefore worth banning children from. Certain children are also naturally more violent than others, and the combination sounds like a recipe for disaster. But sports allow children to focus their intensity by giving them motivation in a controlled environment. Kids who act out in classrooms will often find sports not only help build physical stamina, but mental stamina as well.

Scars are not signs of mom and dad’s inept parenting—they’re badges of honour for the children.

Double dare


Summer sports you should do

Formerly published in The Other Press. May 8 2013.

By Elliot Chan, Staff Writer

As the snow on the mountains melts away, sporty individuals will now turn their sights on all summer has to offer. For those of us who have spent the winter months hibernating, it is time to shake off the rust and put the rest and training into effect. Now that the city has thawed, grab that bucket list and get to work.

Hiking: British Columbia is home to some of the best hiking trails in the world. From mountain ranges to seascape, we often forget how vast this province really is. Take a drive to the island and embark on the West Coast Trail, a 75-km backpacking route that takes you along the edge of the Pacific. Or challenge the Stawamus Chief, a short two-hour commitment that will lead you up to the peak of Squamish. If nothing more, then try to beat or set your best time on the Grouse Grind.

Whitewater rafting: A roller coaster ride that you can control. If you’re not yet ready to kayak down Hell’s Gate, but are sick of canoeing at Trout Lake then it’s time to see whether you’re made to sink or swim in the world of extreme water sports. All whitewater rafting sites offer different levels of rafting intensity, choosing between a motor-powered raft to a paddle one. If you need a reason to gather a group of friends and head on a road trip up to Whistler or Kumsheen Resort where the Fraser and Thompson rivers fork, let whitewater rafting be one of them.

Bungee jumping: If falling can be considered a sport, then I’m in pretty good shape. I took the dive at Whistler Bungee last year and never regretted it. If given the chance, I would be back on that bridge saying my prayers again. There’s something about taking a leap of faith that is simply unforgettable.

Mountain biking: Biking in any form is a great way to exercise. But why not bombard down a mountain, feeling each stone and root that juts from the earth? Navigating through nature and seeing the world pass you by from the handle bar is one of the most exhilarating things to do. BC is full of trails for all skill levels from beginners to championship-winning professionals. A quick search on the Internet can yield a hundred different paths to bike through.

From spur-of-the-moment adrenaline rushes to weeklong experiences, find opportunities to get outside this summer and try something new.